Country Explorer


You are here: Home > Panama

Panama history

Pre-European history

Pre-European history points to human settlements that existed around 10,000 years before the beginning of the Christian era. Around 400 BC Settled groups lived on what is now the state territory, which carried out field construction and produced simple two-tone ceramics. Around 300 AD multicolored ceramics were created, which are now used as evidence of the regional cultures.

Colonial period

Panama historyAt the beginning of the 16th century, the Spaniard Vasco Nunez de Balboa was the first European to cross the Isthmus of Dari¨¦n and took possession of the Pacific Ocean as the "South Pacific" for the Spanish crown. The local princes of the Azuero and Veraguas peninsulas were subjugated, and Panama developed into an important interface in trade between the Spanish royal state and its American colonies. Negro slaves were brought into the country to work in the plantations. Escaped slaves, too, who fled into the forests of Dari¨¦n as "Cimarrones" and founded their own settlements there. They were settled in Pacorah as free citizens in the second half of the 16th century. In 1793, Panama became part of the Viceroyalty of Santa Fe.

Independence and Panama Canal

In 1821, the former colony declared independence and joined the neighboring country of Colombia, under which it enjoyed a high degree of independence as a province. As early as 1855, the United States had linked the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans through a railroad line, the construction of which had attracted numerous Chinese workers for five years. Many of them lost their lives in the country's inhospitable primeval forests. However, the desire to shorten the long sea route around Cape Horn from the east to the west coast of the USA with a navigable canal was only realized when a French stock corporation bought the railway line and began a breakthrough in the 1880s through the isthmus of Panama. According to plans by the builder of the Suez Canal, Ferdinand Lesseps (1805-1894), The project was run for nine years with the money from French investors. The canal was completed and opened in 1914.

The Republic of Panama was largely financed in the following decades through the services and leases paid for the use of the canal. From the 1930s, however, efforts by Panamanian citizens began, aimed at the sovereignty of the state and the return of the canal. The United States gave way by first increasing annual interest rates and granting the country a very limited sovereignty in 1954. Panama's nominal sovereignty was recognized in 1960 and negotiations on the status of the Canal Zone began in 1964, but did not lead to an agreement.

Military rule

In 1968, incumbent President A. Arias was overthrown by the National Guard and a junta under O. Torrijos Herrera tried to give the country new impetus through economic and social reforms. In 1974 a treaty was signed on the Panama Canal, and in 1977 it was finally agreed with the United States that the canal would become Panamanian sovereignty at the end of 1999. In 1989, US troops intervened to imprison General Noriega, the military ruler accused of drug trafficking.

Developments since 1990

According to AbbreviationFinder, democracy was restored in 1990 and Ernesto Perez Balladares Gonzalez Revilla was elected President in 1994. Radical economic reforms began under his presidency. After the second free elections after 1990, Mireya Moscoso, the widow of President Arias, who died in 1968, became the country's first female president in 2000. At the end of 1999, the Panama Canal was returned on schedule and the military bases in the country were dissolved. The most important waterway between the Atlantic and the Pacific is now owned by Panama after almost a century.

Mart¨ªn Torrijos Espino, son of the former dictator Omar Torrijos and member of the "Revolutionary Democratic Party" (PRD), won the 2004 presidential election. Plans to reform social security led to violent protests by the population in 2005. The expansion of the Panama Canal, which had been discussed for many years, in order to make it navigable for modern container ships and tankers, was decided in a referendum in October 2006. In 2000 Ricardo Martinelli, the new head of state and government, took office. He was replaced in 2014 by the previous vice president and entrepreneur Ju¨¢n Carlos Varela.

Africa - Asia - Central America - Europe - Caribbean - Middle East - North America - Oceania - South America


Country Explorer Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved